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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

290     Material for Erewhon Revisited

Languages who had invented a kind of Ollendorffian system
for teaching the Art of Polite Conversation among cats.

They have an art-class in which the first thing insisted on
is that the pupils should know the price of all the leading
modern pictures that have been sold during the last twenty
years at Christie's, and the fluctuations in their values. Give
an examination paper on this subject. The artist being a
picture-dealer, the first thing he must do is to know how to
sell his pictures, and therefore how to adapt them to the
market. What is the use of being able to paint a picture unless
one can sell it when one has painted it ?

Add that the secret of the success of modern French art
lies in its recognition of values.

Let there be monks who have taken vows of modest com-
petency (about £1000 a year, derived from consols), who
spurn popularity as medieval monks spurned money—and
with about as much sincerity. Their great object is to try and
find out what they like and then get it. They do not live in
one building, and there are no vows of celibacy, but, in prac-
tice, when any member marries he drifts away from the society.
They have no profession of faith or articles of association, but,
as they who hunted for the Holy Grail, so do these hunt in all
things, whether of art or science, for that which commends
itself to them as comfortable and worthy to be accepted.
Their liberty of thought and speech and their reasonable en-
joyment of the good things of this life are what they alone
live for.

Let the Erewhonians have Westminster Abbeys of the first,
second and third class, and in one of these let them raise
monuments to dead theories which were once celebrated.

Let them study those arts whereby the opinions of a
minority may be made to seem those of a majority.

Introduce an Erewhonian sermon to the effect that if
people are wicked they may perhaps have to go to heaven
when they die.

Let them have a Regius Professor of Studied Ambiguity.

Let the Professor of Worldly Wisdom pluck a man for want
of sufficient vagueness in his saving-clauses paper.

Another poor fellow may be floored for having written
an article on a scientific subject without having made free
enough use of the words " patiently" and " carefully,"